UK: New CAP code consultation

Permission to advertise in the UK, although set to change, is limited to operators licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and those otherwise licensed within the EEA or a white-listed jurisdiction. Operators wanting to advertise their products and services in the UK are required to comply with the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the “CAP Code“).

Historically, the CAP Code only captured external advertisements and marketing materials produced by operators but in March 2011, the Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP“) extended the remit of the CAP Code to include marketing content and communications on marketers’ own websites.

The current CAP Code rule subject to debate is Rule 16.3.14 which reads:

 “[…] include a child or young person. No-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way.

As a consequence, many operators found that the images that they used of sportsmen and women to illustrate a specific bet were being caught by the CAP Code as the individuals were under the age of 25. The Remote Gambling Association, an industry body for many operators, raised concerns over the impact that the extension to the legislation was having the sports betting sector and is the ultimate reason for the consultation.

When the remit of the CAP Code was extended, a two-year on-going review period was announced by CAP for unanticipated concerns such as this.

Providing the consultation receives the necessary support, the Rule 16.3.14 will be amended to permit betting websites to display images of sporting professionals when marketing bets on those individuals. The suggested amendment reads as follows:

Individuals who are, or seem to be under 25 years old may be featured playing a significant role only in marketing communications that appear in a place where a bet can be placed directly through a transitional facility, for instance, a gambling operator’s own website. The individual may only be used to illustrate specific betting selections where that individual is the subject of the bet offered

The consultation runs for eight weeks (with a two week extension due to the holiday period) and will end at 5 p.m. on Friday 8 February 2013.